'Tis the season for lists. You've seen them. Lists of the "best cookbooks" of the year and lists of the "best gifts" for the culinarily inclined.
For your shopping pleasure, The Food Section has pored over the pages of food magazines, newspaper food sections, food blogs, and websites to bring you the list to end all lists -- the second annual edition of The Food Section Guide to Holiday Gift Guides, a collection of links to recently published articles on gastro-gifts for the holidays (including a handful of TFS highlights).
Things to Eat and Other Food Stuff
»Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts of Good Taste [Food & Wine]
»The Holiday Gift Guide [epicurious]
»Gift Picks for 2005 [The Splendid Table]
»Eat, Drink, Read, and Be Merry [Newsday]
»Eater Gift Guide Part I & II [Eater]
»Holiday Gift Guide [101 Cookbooks]
»2005 Un-Gift Guide [The Kitchen]
»A few Holiday Gift Ideas [Strong Buzz]
»Big Thoughtfulness, Small Enough for Stockings [New York Times]
Cookbooks and Other Food Reads
»Holiday Books: Cooking [New York Times]
»Cookbooks: Our Picks of the Season [Washington Post]
»Must-Have Books of 2005 [Food & Wine]
»Books to Give and to Get: Our picks from 2005 [Epicurious]
»Best of 2005: Twenty Books from 2004 That Made the Cut [Leite's Culinaria]
»Santa's Top 10 Cookbooks: Recipe Collections That Don't Suck -- And a Few That Do [Village Voice]
»Daring To Delve Deeper: 2005's Best Cookbooks[New York Sun]
»Cookbooks to Give and Get [National Public Radio]
»The Best Food Books of 2005 [The Splendid Table]
Due to widespread problems at TypePad, the blogging service through which The Food Section is created and hosted, this site experienced some technical difficulties on Friday, December 16. Posts reverted to a week earlier, and the visage of our beloved stuffed cinghiale vanished into the ether.
However, things seem to be returning to normal (though with some images missing here and there), and I fully expect that regular posting will resume on Monday.
COMING UP: HOLIDAY CHEER
»A Dining Guide to Christmas, Chanukah, and New Year's Eve [Strong Buzz]
EVENTS THIS WEEK
1. Cheese 101, Liz Thorpe, Wholesale Manager of Murray’s Cheese, will provide an overview of selecting, displaying, and making cheese, along with a discussion of wine and cheese pairings, Thursday, December 15, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at Murray's Cheese, 254 Bleecker Street. $50/person (212.243.3289, ext. 25).
2. Port and Cheese, Sommelier Ron Ciavolino will lead a tasting of port and cheese, Thursday, December 15, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at the Institute for Culinary Education, 50 West 23rd Street. $65/person (212.847.0700).
3. Guided Chocolate Tasting, Author and culinary historian Alexandra Leaf will lead a tasting of chocolates paired with wines and teas, Monday, December 19, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.. at the 92nd Street Y, Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street. $45/person (212.415.5500).
Blogs are supposed to be oh-so-up-to-the-minute, but this series of posts on our July visit to Italy has bucked that trend. Months have passed, seasons have changed, and even a child was born while the Moveable Feast soldiered on. One unintended benefit has been the opportunity to look upon all of those images of Italy in summer as winter in New York draws near. It's 19 degrees right now!
If you happened to have arrived late to Moveable Feast: Italia '05, here's the entire series, from start to finish:
»Seeking Santa Margherita
»Send in the Clowns
»Camogli: Market Day
»Liguria: Random Acts of Eating
»Best Focaccia Ever
»Cowboy (and Cashmere) Country
»Lunching on Higher Ground
»Maremma: Random Acts of Eating
»Next Stop, Rome
»Roman Pilgrimage: Tazza D'Oro
»Roman Pilgrimage: Campo de' Fiori
»Roman Pilgrimage: Forno Campo de' Fiori
»Rome: Random Acts of Eating
SWEET AND VICIOUS Above, a stuffed toy cinghiale, or wild boar, purchased at a gas station in the Maremma.
For your dining pleasure: Above and below, a random selection of food porn from Rome -- from candy and grattachecche (shaved ice with syrup) to Cose Fritte (fried things) and Brooklyn Gum.
1. Gingerbread Homes for Animals, A series of gingerbread houses designed for animals by New York City pastry chefs will be on display through Sunday, December 11, 10:00 am to 5:00 p.m., at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center at Central Park, 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues. A raffle of the houses will benefit at-risk animals. Call 212.860.1370 for more information.
2. British Cheese, Avice Wilson, author of Forgotten Harvest: Story of Cheesemaking in Wiltshire, will lead a discussion and tasting of English cheeses on Wednesday, December 7, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at Murray's Cheese, 254 Bleecker Street. $50/person (212.243.3289, ext. 25).
3. Garden Demonstration: Heirloom Apples and Homemade Cider, Apple expert Charles Day and cidermaker Steve Schultz will discuss techniques, equipment, and the best apples for making homemade apple cider, Saturday, December 10, 2:00 p.m., at Wave Hill, West 249th Street and Independence Avenue. Free with admission to Wave Hill (718.549.3200).
4. Slow Spirits: R(h)um, Slow Food New York City and CocktailDB.com will present a seminar and tasting on rum led by Edward Hamilton, author of The Complete Guide to Rum, on Monday, December 12, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Flatiron Lounge, 37 West 19th Street. $40/person in advance ($35 for Slow Food members), $45/person at the door. Limited seating (RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org).
The third and final act of this pilgrimage to a trinity of holy roman food sites concludes at Forno Campo de' Fiori, the amazing bakery at Campo de' Fiori which is justly famous for its pizza bianca -- a chewy, crunchy, olive oil-rich flatbread sprinkled with sea salt.
Ordering was a challenge. The small retail space inside the bakery was packed full, and I had to order quickly or I would get squeezed out and miss my chance for the warm bread. I made eye contact across the counter and using both hands made the international gesture for "just about so big." Immediately, the pizza bianca, which had just landed on the chopping block from the oven, was quickly sliced, deftly wrapped in butcher paper, and handed over to me. We bought some peach iced tea and took our slices out into the square to savor in the sun.
On the opposite side from the busy counter area is a view to where the bread is made. There, you can see the process firsthand in all its glory. A handful of men work like clockwork, quietly and methodically (yet quickly) transforming a seemingly endless supply soft mounds of dough into the thin, dimpled, golden flatbread.
Outdoor food market mecca Campo de' Fiori is stop #2 on our pilgrimage to Roman culinary shrines. Under the canopies, bustling with Roman shoppers and tourists alike, were the most vibrant figs, artichokes, and peaches -- which, of course, look all the more mouthwatering when you glance at these photos months after summer has passed and we are now on the cusp of winter.
Truth be told, amid the fresh and abundant produce, you will find some schlocky housewares sold (we bought a cheap duffle bag), and a used car salesman of a spice seller (I walked up to snap a photo and before I knew it, he had sold me a bag of dried herbs). But, they can't mar the rich display of fruits and vegetables sold in this historic gastronomical destination.
Click below for a photo gallery of Rome's Campo de' Fiori: